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The Student-Led Classroom Tool Kit


Listen and learn: Ed talk
Streaming Session
Recorded Session
Presented Virtually
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Speaker + Consultant
The Strategic Classroom
Jen Manly is a current college instructor, former high school and middle school computer science teacher, middle and high school curriculum developer, and served as a Project Lead the Way Master Teacher. She is a skilled facilitator and has presented to thousands of educators at the local, state, and national level. She is a Certified Agile Leader K–12 Trainer, coauthor of the Agile Educator Guide, and a 2018 ITEEA Teacher Excellence awardee. She received a 2021 CS Teaching Excellence Honorable Mention and served as a curriculum writer for's AP CS A curriculum.

Session description

Learn about tangible tools to help students do work that matters to them now. Take your classroom from student-centered to student-led through classroom management that empowers student coaching and collaboration, and assessment that amplifies creativity. Get tips for building student tenacity and strategies to manage 100-plus unique projects without losing your mind.

Purpose & objective

All children deserve learning experiences focused on solving real world, authentic problems, allowing them to practice collaboration, communication, and creativity. In a world where more tasks and jobs are becoming automated, empowering our students to be collaborative problem solvers, creative innovators, and reflective, lifelong learners makes them indispensable.

Imagine: a classroom of 30 students, each working on their own, individual (or sometimes paired) project for a real world client. Both inspiring and daunting, right? While “21st century learning” is a popular ideal in today’s education conversation, few tools exist to help teachers facilitate authentic, meaningful learning on a full class scale.

In this session, participants will learn tangible tools and strategies to help transform their classrooms into places where students do work that matters to THEM right now. Through classroom management methods that empower student coaching and collaboration, assessment tools that amplify and inspire creativity, tips for building student tenacity, and strategies to manage 100+ unique projects all at once without losing your mind, teachers will leave this session ready to transform their classroom from student-centered to student-led.

Participant Outcomes:
-Discuss the difference between classroom management and classroom leadership
-Identify how to lead students through authentic learning experiences
-Review different strategies to create systems and space for student leadership and tools for authentic assessment
-Leave with tools to implement these strategies within your own classroom

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Agenda with Timing:
Classroom Management vs. Classroom Leadership, includes small group discussion (7 min)
Introduction to Toolkit + Notecatcher (3 min)
Classroom Environment (15 min): Setting group norms, Incorporating peer coaching, Systems for ongoing feedback, Section reflection
Project and Learning Management (15 min): Student resource tubs, Mastery points before assessment, Help ticket system, Group project management, Student task management
Assessment: Shifting from Grades to Feedback (12 min): Evaluating your current assessment strategies, Defining student-centered assessment, Systems for managing redos, Rules for verbal assessment
Making Actionable Commitments (3 mins)
Q+A (5 min)

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Supporting research
Drive, Daniel Pink

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Session specifications

Student agency, choice and voice
Grade level:
Skill level:
Library media specialists, Principals/head teachers, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
For Students:
Global Collaborator
  • Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.